Smoothies are one seriously clever way of “cheating” our taste buds into thinking we’re indulging. If you look at the ingredient spread of one of these deconstructed shakes, it looks more like a display in a health food store. You’ve got your leafy greens, your fruit section, a dollop of dairy or plant-based milk, and a handful of nuts and seeds. But when you stuff it all in that blender, you end up with a chilled, brightly colored concoction that not only looks appetizing but tastes pretty good, too!
Are Smoothies Healthy?
All smoothies aren’t created equal. If you’ve perused the #smoothies hashtag on Instagram, you’ve likely seen all kinds of too-good-to-be-true blended beverages. There’s a fine line between sneaking in your daily vitamins and a calorie-packed overindulgence, so it’s best to beware if you see something that looks more like a dessert than fruits and veggies undercover. Smoothies should mimic a meal and contain healthy protein, carbohydrates, and fat. This will leave you feeling more full and give you the energy and vitamins you need to conquer the day!
How to Make a Healthy Smoothie
It’s easy to tip the balance when you’re gathering ingredients. You obviously want a smoothie to taste good, but the point is to give your body a super boost of nutrition, not overindulge in excess calories. Adding too much nut butter or too much fruit can pack on additional calories from fat and sugar.
Here’s a good ratio to keep in mind when you’re putting together a smoothie. It’ll get you the right texture and consistency of liquids to solids and keep those calories in check.
- Liquid = 1 part
- Fruit = 2 parts
- Greens= 2 parts
- Thickener (oats, chia seeds, etc.) = ½ part
- Protein = ¼ part
- Ice = 1 part
How Smoothies Can Boost Your Vitamins and Minerals
If you find it hard to eat enough vegetables on a daily basis, then drinking them in the form of a healthy smoothie might be just the one-stop-shop you’ve been looking for. We believe in getting essential vitamins and nutrients straight from the source, and that means whole foods. But, it can be challenging and time-consuming to whip up interesting salads, soups, or protein-powered lunches on the go every day. That’s where the beauty of the smoothie swoops in to save the day!
What Are The Benefits of Smoothies?
Remember juicing? While juicing is still touted as a healthy way to consume fruits and vegetables, it’s nowhere near as beneficial as a good ol’ smoothie. That’s because you’re not tossing away the micronutrients when you’re blending whole foods. All of that fruit and veggie pulp that gets disposed of when you juice is a lot of wasted fiber, vitamins, and minerals that your body could be using. Not only that but blending breaks down the cellular walls of whatever you’re adding to your smoothie, giving you a head start on the digestion process.
Science has shown that blended foods like soups and smoothies keep you fuller for longer periods of time. This is thanks to the blending of liquids and solids. Normally, your body would excrete the liquids and process the solids. But when foods are blended, the digestion and excretion process takes longer since it needs to separate the liquids from the solids, staving off hunger.
Making a tuna sandwich or Mediterranean chickpea salad can be tricky to do every day. So what do we do instead? Unfortunately, sometimes we opt for quicker options that aren’t always healthy. Fast food or a granola and yogurt parfait that’s packed with sugar don’t deliver the same health benefits or satiety as a quick and simple smoothie.
3 Healthy Smoothie Recipes
When it comes to feeding your family, especially managing picky eaters, smoothies are your friend. They are an easy way to ensure that everyone eats enough fruits and veggies, which can sometimes be challenging for young kids. A smoothie a day might be just what the doctor ordered!
“If I’m going to have a smoothie, I am going to have it with a small meal. This will maximize the absorption of the vitamins and nutrients. Smoothies are a great way to get picky eaters to benefit from the nutrition profiles of fruits, veggies, and additional protein. Remember health is wealth!” - Dr. Richard Harris, MD, PharmD
Get Your Greens Smoothie
Nothing spells health like g-r-e-e-n-s! Seasonal leafy greens like spinach and kale are the perfect additions to smoothies. Two cups of spinach contain 1.3g of fiber, 1.7 g of protein,
1.6 mg of iron, and a whopping 340 mg of potassium! This green smoothie is high in other micronutrients like carotenoids, saponins, and flavonoids, all of which are important phytonutrients. The avocado and banana add a creamy texture with lots of folate and potassium, and the apple brings just the right hint of sweetness.
- 1 1/2 cup of milk, Greek yogurt, or nut milk
- 2 cups Spinach
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 apple (sliced)
- 1/4 avocado
Super Berry Antioxidant Smoothie
Is there anything more eye-catching than a bright, berry-filled smoothie? It’s got a lot more than good looks going for it, too! This blackberry and blueberry flavor bomb contains 36% of your daily vitamin C, 24% of your daily calcium, and 13% of the vitamin A you need for the day. Berries add a tart sweetness and contain lots of antioxidants, which research suggests may have beneficial cancer-fighting properties. Since these fruits are low on the glycemic index, berries won’t spike your blood sugar, making this smoothie especially good for diabetics.
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 cup milk or nut milk
- 1 frozen banana
Protein Power Smoothie
For a tasty way to power up before a long day, you want a smoothie with plenty of protein. This delicious blend brings together a couple of tablespoons of savory and satisfying peanut butter, a touch of cinnamon for its anti-inflammatory and blood-sugar regulating benefits, and kale, our favorite dark leafy green. Put it all together and one serving offers 6g of protein, 4g of fiber, and all of the vitamins K, A, and C that you’ll need for the whole day!
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup milk or nut milk
- 1 cup torn kale (without ribs)
- 2 tablespoons natural, sugar-free peanut butter
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
How to Boost Your Immunity With Supplements
Sipping a smoothie every day is a great way to maintain your health. But every once in a while, upping your nutrient intake with supplements offers big benefits. If cold or flu season is just around the corner and you want a little extra insurance, try the Immunity 10 Day Power Pack. It contains key immunity-boosting nutrients like B-Complex+, L-Lysine, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Zinc, Detox Blend, and our specially formulated Recharge Blend. The pre-portioned daily packs make it easy so you don’t even have to think about it!
Keeping your family healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be simple and even delicious. When you incorporate nutrient-fueled smoothies into your daily routine, you’re helping yourself and your family stay happy and healthy. Hearty greens that are easily digested, antioxidant and vitamin-packed fruits, and filling proteins are the easiest, tastiest ways to promote everyday health. Give these recipes a try and you’re guaranteed satisfied smiles!